Glimpse K12 Analysis of School Spending Shows that Two-Thirds of Software License Purchases Go Unused

Posted by:
May 14, 2019

Huntsville, Ala. – May 14, 2019 Glimpse K12, the only education technology company that analyzes school spending in the context of student outcomes, released today the results of a new study evaluating spending at 275 K-12 schools across the U.S.

Glimpse K12 analyzed $2B in school spending across the schools and determined that the most underutilized resource and biggest source of wasted spending was educational software (67 percent), followed by professional development (48 percent) and printed materials (28 percent).

Glimpse tracked 200K curriculum software licenses purchased by 275 schools during the 2017-2018 school year. The company used its eROI platform to measure how many of the software licenses were actually being used by teachers and students. Glimpse K12 found on average that 67 percent of software licenses were going unused, though in some cases the number was as high as 90 percent. This translated to approximately $2M in wasted spending across all 275 schools during the academic year.

Looking at education expenditures through an ROI lens in the context of student outcomes, Glimpse K12’s analysis highlighted:

  • Technology is by far the most underutilized resource. An underutilized resource means a school purchased the technology and is not utilizing it fully. It does not imply that there should be more use of technology in general.
  • Given the fact that the education technology software space alone totals $8.4 billion dollars, this means that over $5.6 billion dollars may be wasted each year.

“At Glimpse we have found that nearly 90 percent of districts we work with that do not have clearly defined ROI goals suffer from severe underutilization of technology resources,” said Adam Pearson, Co-Founder of Glimpse K12. “Underutilization/Non-utilization is the number one culprit that drives up education costs and weighs on student success. When these activities are not fully utilized, two unfortunate things occur. First, money is wasted. Second, and most importantly, student achievement suffers.”

Why is this happening?

“To hone in on the root cause of unused and wasted resources, school districts need to ask two important foundational questions,” said Pearson. ”Do our teachers really want these digital tools, and are we ready to implement the technology? If the answer to both is yes, administrators must ask themselves, ‘Are we prepared to set clear expectations for usage and implementation fidelity?’ If the answer is no, districts have no assurance students will receive the benefits of these resources, which leads to ineffective and wasted spending.”

Strong leadership and data insight can help fix the problem

There are steps school and district administrators can take to avoid underutilized resources. According to Pearson, “Measuring education Return on Investment is a critical first step. eROI platforms ensure that district and school administrators capture all of the money allocated to purchasing software licenses, align these expenditures with goals and objectives, and evaluate these activities in the context of student outcomes.”

These platforms help administrators:

  • Track: You cannot manage what you are not tracking. Since everything is tracked and aligned, it can be managed.
  • Communicate goals and expectations: Clearly communicating the goals and objectives of the technology increases the fidelity of implementation.
  • Evaluate ROI: ROI evaluation uncovers what worked and what did not. This level of transparency is the only way to improve student outcomes. ROI analysis is critical to building educator buy-in from the ground up.

Superintendent Bill Hopkins of Morgan County Schools utilized Glimpse K12’s eROI platform to uncover that 66 percent of software licenses were wasted in a core curriculum personalized learning platform. The reasons for non-usage varied widely across the district’s 17 schools. Under the leadership of Mr. Hopkins, the Board of Education and District Administrators united to eliminate this ineffective spending. In less than 6 months, 50 percent of the ineffective spending was eliminated and within 9 months, 90 percent was eliminated.

“Having high numbers of underutilized resources is not acceptable when educators and students have unmet needs every year,” said Pearson. “These resources should either be utilized or reallocated to activities that will help solve student and educator needs. Morgan County Schools is a great example of how eROI platforms can help schools eliminate ineffective spending.”

About the Study
Glimpse’s Education Return on Investment platform captures education spending from schools and districts. Each school expenditure is strategically aligned to goals and objectives. Glimpse identified the most underutilized resources schools purchased by analyzing more than $2 billion of education spending across 275 schools for the 2017-2018 school year.

About Glimpse K12

Glimpse K12 is the only education technology company that analyzes school spending in the context of student outcomes. Through its eROI (Education Return on Investment) platform, Glimpse provides school districts with insight into how well they are aligning resources with students’ needs and how investments made in the classroom are yielding actual student results. School districts across the country are working with Glimpse K12 to create optimized, performance-based budgets based on student achievement and maximize the impact of every dollar spent in the classroom. Glimpse K12 is funded by some of the most innovative ed tech investors including Y Combinator. Learn more at